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Apple TV+ Animated Series Central Park Will Recast Black Character Voiced By Kristen Bell

Central Park, a new animated series co-created by Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, is midway through Season 1, but a big change is coming for Season 2. One of the show’s characters, Molly, is a biracial young girl who has, up to this point, been voiced by Kristen Bell (Frozen, The Good Place), who is white.

Going forward, the part of Molly will be recast, and while Bell will remain on the show she will play a new character.

In a statement from the show’s creators Bell has shared on Twitter, it’s stated that Bell was cast in the show “before there was even a character for her to play,” but the decision to cast her as Molly was misguided.

“After reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that the casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right–to cast a Black or mixed race actress and give Molly a voice that resonates with all of the nuance and the experiences of the character as we’ve drawn her,” the statement reads.

There’s also a promise that the team is “committed to creating opportunities for people of color and Black people in all roles,” including on the production side.

Bell has added her own commentary, admitting that playing Molly “shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege.”

This comes shortly after Jenny Slate announced that she was stepping away from playing Missy in Big Mouth, who is also a biracial child.

Similarly, long time Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria revealed earlier this year that he will no longer play Apu on the show. “Once I realized that that was the way this character was thought of, I just didn’t want to participate in it anymore,” he said.

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